Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Beta-Glucan: A Healthy Gift From Mother Nature

Beta-Glucan is a nonstarch polysaccharide (NSP) having documented health benefits and industrial applications. It is composed entirely of glucose, bound by beta -1,3 and beta -1,4 bonds and arranged linearly. It can be extracted from various sources, including cereals, bacteria, molds, and fungi. The chemical nature of extracted beta-glucan from these sources differs slightly.

Beta-Glucans are soluble fibres occurring in the bran of grasses (Gramineae) such as barley, oats, rye, and wheat in amounts of about 7%, 5%, 2%, and less than 1% respectively.

A diet rich in beta-glucans has a positive effect on human health by preventing chronic non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.

Most interesting and growing are health claim applications of barley beta-glucans. For Europe: EFSA in 2011 has approved a health claim for foods: “Barley beta-glucans have been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol.” Barley beta-glucans with average molecular weight between 100 and 2000 kDa evidentially lower/reduce blood cholesterol. At least three grams of barley beta-glucans should be consumed per day to obtain the claimed effect. The target population is adults with normal or mildly elevated blood cholesterol concentrations.

A diet rich in beta-glucans has a positive effect on human health by preventing chronic non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. The results of both clinical and preclinical studies have confirmed the antioxidant, immunomodulatory and antitumor properties of beta-glucans. Also, it has a prebiotic effect, supporting the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria.

Some of the reported health benefits of beta-glucans are:

1. Hypoglycemic properties
2. Hypocholesterolemic properties
3. Immunomodulatory and Antitumor properties
4. Prebiotic properties

Due to their properties, beta-glucans have a broad spectrum of use, especially in medicine, veterinary medicine, food, cosmetics and chemical industries.

References:
1. Technology of Main Ingredients-Water and Flours, Karl F. Tiefenbacher, in Wafer and Waffle, 2017.
2. Ciecierska, A.; et.al. Nutraceutical functions of beta-glucans in human nutrition. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig . 2019, 70(4), 315-324. doi: 10.32394/rpzh.2019.0082.

Barley beta-glucans have been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol.

  1. marygrace wong

    Thursday, October 21, 2021 - 13:37:37

    Barley supplements are a great help to our health…it cures diseases ,etc..

  2. Kris01

    Thursday, October 21, 2021 - 15:19:59

    Ms. Marygrace,

    Well said. Actually barley is a good functional food.

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